Photos I Love: Chase and the Stranger

In 2009, our family was checking in at the airport for the flight to our spring break destination, when Chase went missing—not an uncommon occurrence! As my eyes scanned the area, I noticed him a ways off, sitting and chatting with a complete stranger. Any anger that was mounting, melted away as I walked closer. I could see that Chase was fully engaged in conversation with an elderly gentleman and that he was intently listening. I paused for a moment before snapping this photo and was reminded that some people come to earth with amazing gifts of humanity that the rest of us struggle to recognize or ever develop. Six months after taking this picture, I prayed to know how best to introduce my son to high school and to a group of eight educators, administrators and counselors, I was prompted to bring this photo and say, this is Chase …

He easily engages in conversation with strangers—especially the very young and the very experienced.

He will remember your pet’s name and the details you tell him about your vacation—in five years!

He will observe other students in your class, sense their needs and emotions and risk getting into trouble to help them.

He wants nothing more than to be recognized for the good and right things he does.

He is starting his 10th year of school, where in spite of his best effort, he is consistently sent the message that he isn’t enough.

I LOVE this photo because it helped me communicate heart to heart, the amazing opportunity it is to be Chase’s mother; to understand him, to shape and to influence him, and in so doing, to be changed forever.

NOTE: I am undertaking a project to publish my Photos I Love album pages on my blog. I’m also sharing this project with students in my Inspired Scrapbooking workshop. We are focused on family stories this month (March 2014) and I’ve been thinking a LOT about the stories that are hidden away in my many scrapbooks. I am keen to get these stories online, so that A) they are archived and B) they are shareable. 

In the 2nd grade, Chase was diagnosed with ADHD. Sometimes it is necessary to diagnose and label, in an effort to describe and explain limitations in each other as we make our way through life, but it is far more important to see into each others’ hearts and to appreciate the gifts and strengths we possess to connect with and improve our world.

There is power and clarity in pictures, especially as you let them speak.
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  1. Oh My Goodness! I love this! I love this photo – I love your words – I love the look on your sons face! He is the most precious human one could ever want walking this earth and I hope he runs across my boys in life and they make fast friends right away. My boys are the most amazing young men and I could share the same words you do about your son in regards to my boys. I love the friends they make and I’d really love to see their friends mothers post stories like this about them. I, unfortunately, got out of scrap booking years ago due to mother-in-law being ill and I started taking care of her. I was too tired to do photography with any spare time I had. We just put her in a nursing home a few months ago and we are still trying to recover from all her medical bills. I so want to get back in to this after reading this. Thank you so much for sharing this! What a blessed “Mom” you are.

  2. Sue K.Smith says:

    What a beautiful picture of a beautiful person! How smart of you to use this pic to explain your sons strengths. Too much is put on the negative in schools these days, no matter how big the students heart is. My daughter struggles in math, I no longer worry about her marks, I just worry about her self esteem. She works very hard for the marks she gets, and fortunately has a teacher that appreciates that. I think her knowing that we support her is the strength she needs to get through. We are both blessed with wonderful children aren’t we? Thanks for your story and for all the color you bring into our lives!

  3. I love this photo! Ahhhh. This is one of those purely beautiful moments that come and go and get forgotten so quickly. Way to inspire me today, Stacy. Thank you.

  4. Nicole H says:

    I can not believe the timing on this:
    I received this in my email inbox and read it the same day that I listened to an older podcast of Paperclipping Roundtable (#73). You told this story, nearly verbatim, during the discussion. I couldn’t believe how your words were the same 3 years later. I love that you used the photo so many different ways to tell a story for different reasons over a 5 year period. Just shows one how important a story can be, in the short-term and in history.
    Thanks for sharing!

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